Ever been in a room where the walls are SO thin that you can hear every intimate conversation in the room next door? no? I wouldn’t recommend it that’s for sure….

It took forever to fall asleep last night but there was no breakfast at the hotel so we didn’t miss anything! Instead we were up and ready for the zoo. We already had our tickets from the aquarium/zoo combo we did so we went straight in. Good job we got there ten minutes after it opened as by 11am the car park was full!

The zoo wasn’t huge but they have pandas which is the main reason for our visit. We wandered round the enclosures looking at all the different animals. Baby gorilla hanging onto its mums legBiiiig daddy gorilla. 

We were quite fortunate as there were a few babies that came out to play today. How cute is that baby orangutan? Very! Kinda looks like me in the morning πŸ˜‚ A ferocious looking snapping turtleA very noisy tiger chilling in the shade. The zoo was full of children. Everywhere you turned you were tripping over a child who had run off from their parents or a runaway stroller or one adult trying to control about five or six kids. It was mental. Then we realised it was a Saturday. The sun was shining, it was warm so what better way to spend the day than at the zoo with five thousand children. Still, at least they were little enough so I could see over their heads πŸ˜‚. 

Possibly the best thing I heard today was a young girl talking to her dad in the lion enclosure…”Daddy, why don’t they put other animals in there for the lion to feed on?” I found this highly amusing especially something so morbid coming from someone so young! 

There’s definitely a distinct difference between the states. Down here in Georgia, people have a real long southern drawl when they talk. Back up in the earlier states their accents weren’t as strong as down here. “Hey y’all how y’all doin’ today?” “Did y’all enjoy yaaaw day at the zoo?” That is the best way I can describe how they talk here. The best part is that everyone you encounter customer service-wise, are so unbelievably friendly. It genuinely puts us Brits to shame I think. They’re so helpful, they approach you to make sure you can find what you’re looking for. I mean in a Walmart they even have someone greeting you as you walk in saying “welcome to Walmart.” 

The main reason why we wanted to visit the zoo was for this The baby pandas. They were the most adorable things we had ever seen. Ya Lun and Xi Lun were born on September 3rd last year and weren’t named for their first 100 days as that is In keeping with the Chinese 100 day tradition. Their mum Lun Lun had previously given birth to two twin girls. She is now 19 years old. The cubs were so insanely playful and so insanely cute. Interesting fact – Lun Lun can poop 100 times in 24 hours and it doesn’t smell! Lun Lun was trying to entice her cubs outside so that the keepers could get in and clean but they were having none of it. They were far too interested in playing. We could have stayed and watched them for hours and hours. Truly remarkable animals. As we left the panda enclosure we went back to see if the elephants and lions had come out to play. They sort of had…I use the term play lightly as the elephant was just stood there and the lion was asleep. 

We exited through the gift shop and donated $1 to the panda conservation. The car park was now closed to anyone wanting to come to the zoo and was only operating as drop off/pick up. Crazy really as there’s not really anywhere to park nearby. As we left the zoo and drove out towards Martin Luther King Jrs house and resting place, we passed house after house after house having a yard sale. I am pretty sure every house in that neighbourhood was having one. People were walking round with all sorts of things they had picked up from someone’s from lawn! 

We didn’t stop at the Martin Luther King Jr historic site as we kept taking too many wrong turns and ended up driving away from it so we headed to our next destination…Birmingham, Alabama. You can see that civil rights is still quite a hot topic in Atlanta, especially this neighbourhood because “black lives matter” and “darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that,” were plastered outside people’s houses and churches. I guess it would be considering it is where Martin Luther King Jr lived and died. 

We stopped at Pizza Hut for lunch as it was next to a gas station and we needed some. If you’ve never tried the garlic knots you’re missing out. It was a taste sensation. We have decided we prefer those to mozzarella sticks, which is a big statement considering how much we love mozzarella sticks!! We order a large pizza but only normally eat half because we take the other half away to eat for dinner or breakfast 😊. Two meals for the price of one. It was a bargain today anyway because there was a random $8 coupon deducted from our bill and they didn’t charge us for drinks either! Nathan thinks it was because the waitress fancied him…..πŸ€”πŸ€”

As we sat down to order our lunch, Nathan got up in a panic and ran out the door. He walked back in with keys in hand….keys he forgot to take out the ignition πŸ˜‚. And he had the cheek to say I was dopey like the beluga whales….

Luckily the dreadful weather of the last couple of days seems to have passed and it is warm and sunny so I can sit with my legs tanning on the dashboard again as we drive into Alabama. 

Ok so we didn’t make it to Birmingham (as of yet), thank goodness for a very fluid itinerary πŸ˜‚. Instead we came across Cheaha State Park in the Talledaga Forest. It was $10 to get in and we drove round twice before we found the Bald Rock trail that we wanted. We did climb to the top of the observation tower which is the highest point in the whole of Alabama, but the view was much better from Bald Rock. You could literally see for miles and miles. You had about half a mile walk along a wooden walkway to reach Bald Rock. There wasn’t anything to stop you falling off either! As we were walking back we passed a lot of dog walkers and dogs that were off the lead. Very brave considering the lack of barriers! I turned to a Nathan and said that I think I’d be a sausage dog if I was a dog because they have short legs and seem lazy. He said I’d be a beagle. Not sure which is best…

We looked at camping for the night but for some reason at weekends it’s a two night stay minimum which seems a little bizarre. 

One thing we forgot about was that as you drive west through America, you go back in time. Literally as we hit Alabamas welcome sign, we went back in time by an hour. Just means we get an extra hour to explore 😊 albeit I came over very tired so not sure if I got hit with jet lag in that hour πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚. 

We left Cheaha State Park and began driving towards Birmingham, hoping to stop at Red Mountain Park…

Until later….

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